Wow, I have to go take a cold shower now. ;) Seriously, this was an amazing piece. Incredible style, detail and atmosphere. Your descriptions were perfect; they were lyrical without being overly ornate. I'm glad you decided to submit this as a one-shot. Thanks for sharing it!
Author's Response: Hee hee.... cold showers, eh? Thanks for the review!
EllieK, I am completely enthralled! This is by far the best fic I've read. Your writing is so smooth and natural that you must either have a lot of experience or are naturally talented. I love the way you've written Snape; it's true to character but you've really expanded upon him as well. And I love Lupin in this story too; I hope he has more coming up!! :) Can't wait to read the next chapter!
Author's Response: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, BlackClaude! I have only seven months of writing experience. I have worked very, very hard in this fic to keep Snape IC and true to canon. I am pleased that you think I am doing a good job of it. I adore Remus Lupin and have given him a supporting role in this story. Thank you!!!
I love the way this story is progressing; I have it in my favorites so I'm always checking for updates. It's very well-written and you have a good way of kepeing the reader hanging. Snape going to a bordello threw me for a loop at first, but then I thought about it, and it makes sense. Still creepy to think about, though! I found a typo you may want to edit, "Felling better" should be "Feeling better." Other than that, it was perfect and I'm excited for the next chapter!
Author's Response: Thanks! I fixed it. There will be quite a bit of sexual reference in this story, just to warn you. I hope to update within the week! Thank you so much!
Like everyone else, I was a little apprehensive about the premise of the American transfer student, but also like everyone else, I think Juliet's a great character and not cliched. From the first paragraph, I felt like I was with her on the station, being nervous but excited about her new experience. And I liked the introduction of the trio from an outsider's view, especially Hermione's clipped chastising. The only thing that struck me as off was that Juliet asked a lot of questions of the strangers in her compartment. If she was shy, I'd think she would just listen quietly. But she also took an instant liking to them, so she was probably trying to get to know them better. Overall, great beginning and introductions!
Author's Response: Thanks, BC! Lately I've been getting more SPEW reviews and loving it. Juliet was really nervous about fitting in, so she tried to learn as much as she could about the trio and Hogwarts/England in general. Almost like trying to throw out an anchor.
Nice continuation of the story! The new relevations are very interesting, Juliet's condition and her Obliviator cloak. I imagine both are going to become very important. I also liked her Sorting and the factors the hat had to weigh. There were a couple typos that I found. First, "There was a enormous lake" should be "There was an enormous lake." Also, "prefect's carriage" should be "prefects' carriage." And I thought Hermione's reaction to the thestrals was a little out of character, too. I understand you wanting to make her less perfect, but I think that would better be done by focusing on her bossiness and know-it-all tendencies. Otherwise, I thought you did a good job with the characters. I like the interactions between Juliet and the trio. Nice job!
Author's Response: Thanks for catching my typos. Actually, I had a hard time writing that scene. I was torn between writing the Hermione everybody always read about, or a more sensitive one geared to her new friend. I chose the latter, and well... *shrug* I'll go back and see if I can change anything.
This is an amazing story! It's extremely well-written, and I love the way you've characterized the Marauders. You've captured their friendship very well. I'm hooked and adding this to my favorites. Great job!
You've done a great job of capturing the emotions of all involved. I was impressed by the conversation with Dumbledore and Snape. They're both complex characters, but you kept them very believable and IC. Snape's distress and inner struggle was especially well-written. I saw a typo which you may want to fix: "That it why you have come here tonight," the "it" should be "is." And I wasn't sure about "Dumbledore was staring in astonishment at the young man stood before him in his study." Should "stood" be "standing?" I hope to see more of Snape in the coming chapters; he was my favorite part in this one. I'm also loving the heartfelt relationship between the Marauders. It's all perfect; Sirius's loyalty to James and Harry, Remus's isolation... I just wish Sirius would get over his issues! You write Remus so sympathetically, it breaks my heart to see his friend turning against him. Please keep it up, I'm looking forward to the next chapter!
This is definitely the quality of a published author! I really enjoyed this, especially the hints that you dropped for the chapters to come. Was that letter really from her sister?? Hmmm... I also LOVE two year old Remus; it's adorable to see him as a child! I don't know much about kids, but he seems to be talking pretty well. Is that normal for a two year old? Also, there was a phrase I didn't understand: "controlling the amount of uneasiness that shone her voice". I wasn't sure about the "shone her voice" part. But anyway, I'm really hooked and I can't wait to see where this goes!
Author's Response: That phrase was suggested from my beta reader. It depends on the toddler how well they can talk, I think. My two-year old sister talks really well and understands more than I thought she did. Glad you liked it.
Wow, I've never read a fic like this before! The psychology aspect is really interesting, and it's such an important part of the HP universe. I can't wait to see what Remus discovers, because he's just so freaking smart. Update soon!
Nice beginning to your story. You have a good plot started, but there are quite a few grammar problems. I suggest you read the dialogee grammar section in the Help pages. It's a great resource, since dialogue can be hard to punctuate properly. "'Hey Sirius' James called." There should be a comma after the "Sirius" there. Also, "James waved it away and said, 'We're too smart for those girls!'" That should all be on one line; you had it split into two paragraphs. (But I laughed when Remus snorted at James's saying that!) Check out the grammar help pages, especially about dialogue and commas, and maybe get a beta reader too. Also, Melanie might become a Mary Sue... the beautiful American transfer student is always susceptible to Suedom. Just keep an eye on her and your grammar and you should have a good story!
Author's Response: Ok thanx! See I love getting this kind of feedback! :) I'll try to fix the grammatical mistakes and make Melanie less Mary-Sue-y! Thanx again!
This is a beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking story! I felt so awful for Remus. The image of a skinny seven year old burning dinner for his drunk mother is so tragic. He was just so helpless. Great job setting the mood!
Excellent story, very dark and well thought out. You've written a nice characterization of young Snape, both innocent and creepily dark, kind of like the children of the corn. :) "The pictures were nice – there was one of a man with his head inside out." That was especially creepy; nice job. And it was interesting to read a story where his mother was the dark influence, and not his father. I loved the way you wrote her, and her rationalization of why the Dark Arts are "misunderstood." It was fascinating to read her reasons; amongst the more questionable opinions, there were gems of real wisdom such as "One truth does not exclude the possibility of another." You almost made a believer of me, although I think, in practice, the Dark Arts are a touch... darker... then she makes them out to be. But the way she talks about them as an art form, you know that's truly how she views it. Your writing was nearly flawless. I might try to take a few hyphens out of "an ankle-length version of the then-fashionable waist-less mini-dress," but that's about it. This was an incredible story that really gave me something to think about. Great job!!
Author's Response: Oops, the hyphens! Yes, you're right - I blame it on my Victorian reading. I'm the only person in the world who writes "no-one" with a hyphen, I guess, but at least I no longer copy Wilde's "to-morrows" ;). I'll see to it.
Thanks so much for reviewing! I'm happy you appreciate the slipperiness of Septimia's ideas. I considered rating this story R for dangerous thoughts :)... Septimia is very much an ivory tower intellectual who wouldn't dream of using a perfect Dark theory to further herself or harm anyone, and fails to understand why another Dark wizard wouldn't hesitate to do just that. And Severus - well, we all know he ended up with a creepy tattoo... -S.
This is a good beginning to your story. I like the opening with Harry waking up in Percy's room; nice description of the cold, award-filled environment. Mrs. Weasely was also very sweet and IC. I liked her titanic platter of breakfast and her pushing more food onto Harry. It really felt like the Burrow. The only thing that seemed out of place was Ginny in a slinky nightgown. That just seemed a little too sexy for breakfast with the Weaselys. And I see some other people mentioned the past/present tense switching back and forth; that's something to watch out for.
Ron looking at pictures of Hermione was very sweet. I'm not sure it's accurate for Hermione to be called stunning, but maybe that's how Ron sees her because he likes her. I also liked the way he interacted with Ginny; just like a big brother would. And the interlude with Draco was very intriguing. I'm interested to see where he comes into play later on in the story. You have a good start here; I'm looking forward to seeing where you take this.
Author's Response: I am so glad you liked the story and the beginning. Again about Ginny and the slinky nightgown. I am sorry and will change that ASAP to something a little less sexy. I am aware of the past/present tense. I have a beta (now two), but she didn't do a good job on that in the first chappie. I am glad you understood the way I was trying to show Hermione through Ron's eyes. I really tried to keep the characters IC and I am so glad you noticed that. I am so happy you liked it!
A lovely start to your story! The characters were well done; I liked how James and Lily interacted in the carriage. The Marauders were great too. I was wondering what caused the change in James, and it made perfect sense when I found out it was Remus's advice. That made me laugh out loud; I should have known he wouldn't have done it on his own. :) I also like the new kinds of magic you came up with, like Cira's charm and the way Lily charmed the compartment door. Areia was interesting too; she reminded me of X-Men. Is she a Metamorphmagus or something else? The last scene was the sweetest. I loved Lily's final line! There's a good base here for their romance; Lily's still not entirely sure but James is giving her reasons to turn around. It's sweet, but not mushily so. Great job!
Author's Response: More X-Men? Are you and MJ in a conspiracy? ;) Hehe. I got pretty tired of mushy, airhead Lily/James and decided to write my own - which has been really fun so far! Areia isn't a Metamorphmagus, but it's her kind of magic. Every witch or wizard has some sort of magic, whether it be strong or not-so-existant. Thanks BC! :D
Once again, your characters and imagery are excellent. You made Knockturn Alley feel like the normal place to be and Diagon Alley seem silly and frivolous, just by letting the reader into Cody's head. His loneliness was palpable, as was his power when he was attacked. I loved the way you described the scene from what an outsider would see; it added an interesting perspective. The tie-ins to Chamber of Secrets are cool, too. I imagine Cody would have nothing but utter disdain for Lockhart.
Cody's character is developing very well. You're good at showing and not telling; for instance, the way he was confused by Colin trying to shake his hand, but also the way he grabbed it before Colin could withdraw it. It goes a long way towards showing how unused to pleasantries he is but how he's willing to learn to ease his loneliness. Also, "Cody smirked at the boy’s innocence." It's obvious that Cody may be underdeveloped in some ways, but frighteningly wise beyond his years in other ways.
Obligatory grammar corrections: "they’d seen" should be "they'd have seen" and "as firm as ever" should be "as firmly as ever." Also, I think the "can" in this sentence is a typo: "The person was dressed in gray robes can covered his entire body."
Now as for the nudity at the end, I can see how it may be off-putting to some people, but you did a good job with it. Sometimes sex and nudity and in fan fic can become unrealistic, but that seemed perfectly reasonable for a boy who knows both too little and too much about sex. And the final sentence was a striking display of how far from normal development he is. Another great chapter!
I'm afraid I'm going to start repeating myself praising your characters and descriptions, so everything I've praised is still wonderful. :) I'm intrigued by the very real separation between Cody and the other students, especially on the Hogwarts Express where you contrast the children saying goodbye to their parents for a term and Cody alienating himself completely from his ancient family history. You do a great job having him walk the line between innocence and wisdom. I loved this line: "A tiny gnawing sense of darkness was present – barely distinguishable. It intrigued Cody immensely." And I laughed out loud at "Perhaps her hair could have used a bit of work."
You worked the explanation of necromancy in very smoothly. Sometimes things like that can seem too "narrated," but Hermione's swallowed-a-textbook manner works perfectly in that regard. The explanation in this chapter furthered the story, as did Lurrid's introduction. Very ominous indeed; since I've grown to like and identify with Cody, I got a similar sinking feeling when his future friends were threatened. It's a terrible position for him, but the way he disposed of Lurrid gives me hope that Cody will outsmart him in the end.
Author's Response: WOW! I'm really humbled and flattered by all your great comments. Thank you for taking so much time reading and writing. I really do need to get online and write that last chapter....
Your imagery is amazing; I knew from the first few paragraphs that your story was something special. The setting was described exquisitely and the characters are already rich and interesting. You portrayed Cody very well; just from one chapter I got the sense of his strength and maturity, yet also his insecurity, and the timeless nature of his magic. Necromancy is a fascinating subject; I think that the darker side of magic will do well in the HP universe. I'm very interested to see how it fits into Hogwarts. One grammar thing to watch out for: “Come for you lessen?” The raspy voice said. Here, "The" should be lowercase because it is a continuation of the sentence. Also: "What little hair he had were long, stringy strands." "Hair"and "were" don't agree since hair is singular; you'd probably need to reword that. Same with "A tiny set of spectacles were," the "were" should be "was." There are also a few adjectives that should be adverbs, such as "he snapped his boney fingers menacingly loud" and "with absolute no assistance." So that was a few grammar things; I'd just take an extra look before submitting or get a good beta reader. Your story, description and character development, however, are flawless so far. I'm very impressed and can't wait to read more!
First, a tiny concrit: "The young woman lay perfectly still, her deathly pale face framed by her long red hair and her body was shrouded in white sheets." For consistency, I'd remove the "was" after "body." (That's great imagery, btw!) Also, "There was long moment" should be "There was a long moment." Now on to the story. In a nutshell, I think it's great. Everyone was nicely in character. I liked how Neville became a Healer despite his difficulties in school and how Ron said exactly the wrong thing to Hermione before making it right. (I also thought it was really cute how Ron referred to the baby as "him" and Hermione did as "her.") There are a lot of great lines, too. Some of my favorites are "It’s like they were here for their own comfort and you were here for mine" and "Harry, like the rest of her children, was destined to leave her in the dark." And my absolute favorite: "She considered this a moment before saying wisely, 'Mom doesn’t know about this, does she?'" But one line kind of bothered me, "I’m not a girl… not anymore. Are you sure you want me? I’ve lost everything I had that was worth giving.” Just because I hate the idea that Ginny thinks she's lost her worth by not being a virgin anymore. Although I suppose that's what Molly would have emphasized in her upbringing, being Molly. I love the way you've written Neville and Ginny together; he's exactly what she needs. And I loved how their first time was sweet, but still appropriately clumsy. The two intertwining stories are both unfolding nicely and tantalizingly. I really can't wait to read more!
Author's Response: Wow, thank-you for stopping by and reviewing! I'll go back and make those corrections. I loved the little pieces that you pulled out from the fic. Rhea's line is one of my favourites too... She's eleven and kids have a wonderful way of summing everything up so neatly. I'm a bit disturbed by how you perceive Ginny's reluctance. I don't think the loss of her physical virginity is the source of her angst. I hope that as the story develops that that becomes more apparent. And as for Ginny and Neville... *grins* they're a lot of fun to write :)
I'm very intrigued by this lovely opening. Harry -- pharmacy technician? Sixth grade; not Hogwarts? I wonder if this an alternate reality or if Harry abandoned the wizarding world... very curious. Rhea is an interesting character; very well-written. When I first read that only snakes understood her, that she wasn't like other girls, and that she quit soccer, I was afraid she was going to fall into the dark-antisocial-goth stereotype. But she's an interesting mix; I like her and want to read more about her. The setting is beautiful, too. I could feel the sun, the rocks and the cold water as you described them.
As for concrit, I have to echo Evilpersonified in that there is some unnecessary comma use. In these two sentences, I don't think any of the commas are needed: "Rhea sat on a dry patch of dirt, amidst the forest's undergrowth, and waited with anticipation. She wasn't there long, when two black snakes slithered up beside her." It can be a little distracting, since it interrupts the flow, but overall it's not too bad. Great job with this prologue, and now I'm off to the next chapter to find out why Harry is gardening. :)
Wonderful chapter! I really hope there's much more of this story to come. I was immediately impressed by the great characterization of the Order. Molly bugged me in the same way that she did in OotP, so that was spot on. :) And I loved this line; it was so sad and touching: "He had keenly felt the absence of his godfather at the table and had not trusted himself to speak." Harry was written wonderfully, with his inner struggle between enjoying Bella's torture and being ashamed of it. And then with Ginny... wow. That was terrible and painful but so well-written. You handled the subject perfectly, and now I understand exactly why he's living a different life. (Although it's very hard to imagine Harry with a Southern accent!)
Now, for the concrit. I spotted one typo: "he lifted it off the self," should be "shelf." Also, I think the "that" should be removed from "Childish delight in the taboo subject had caused him to begin reading and morbid curiosity that had seen him through to the last page." (Great line, but the way!) And another little typo, "watched rise and fall" should have a "the."
I love the way this story is written, I love the way you've set up the plot, and I can't wait for the next chapter!